Governor calls out Guard
ATLANTA — Georgia’s governor on Monday declared a state of emergency and authorized the activation of up to 1,000 National Guard troops after a weekend of violence in Atlanta left five people dead, including an 8-year-old girl.
A statement from Gov. Brian Kemp’s office says troops will provide support at certain locations including the Capitol and governor’s mansion, freeing up state law enforcement resources to patrol other areas.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” the Republican governor said. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
Saturday night’s fatal shooting of Secoriea Turner, 8, prompted a $10,000 reward for information as authorities searched for at least two people who opened fire on the car she was riding in near a flashpoint of recent protests.
Officers returned to the scene late Sunday to investigate another shooting, steps away from where Secoriea was shot, that left one person dead at the scene and two others injured.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice in Secoriea’s death during an emotional news conference Sunday with the girl’s grief-stricken mother.
“You can’t blame this on a police officer,” the mayor said. “You can’t say this about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby in the car for what?”
“Enough is enough,” Bottoms, who is Black, continued. “If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement, we can’t lose each other.”
The killing happened near the Wendy’s restaurant where a Black man, Rayshard Brooks, was killed by a white police officer June 12. The fast food outlet was later burned, and the area has since become a site for frequent demonstrations against police brutality.
Earlier Monday, Atlanta police helped as sanitation crews cleared the area around the torched Wendy’s. Flowers and memorials to Brooks, as well as posters with messages protesting police brutality, were cleared away.
Secoriea was slain during a particularly violent night in Atlanta on Saturday. Kemp’s office said that over thirty people were wounded by gunfire, including five dead, over the holiday weekend.
Kemp addressed the shootings on social media on Sunday night, saying the “recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous and unacceptable.”
“Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime and violence,” Kemp tweeted. “While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace and maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.”
The order says the declaration of a state of emergency is justified by “unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace and tranquility of this state and danger existing to persons and property.” The order is to remain in effect until at least June 13.